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NJC: Our secretary not under probe for N10bn fraud

NJC: Our secretary not under probe for N10bn fraud
August 05
21:26 2022

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has denied a N10 billion bribe allegation levelled against the secretary of the council.

Recently, a report had claimed that Gambo Saleh, who is the NJC secretary but who had been identified as the registrar of the supreme court in the said publication, is involved in “N10 billion bribe and federal racketeering”.

The publication went further to state that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating a petition written by one Aliyu Mohammed on behalf of “concerned supreme court staff”.

But in a statement on Friday, Soji Oye, NJC spokesperson, said the allegation is intended to “smear the good image of Ahmed Gambo Saleh at all cost”.

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Oye, in the statement, said upon enquiry, “the NJC has discovered that there is no staff by the name Aliyu Mohammed on the supreme court staff list and his phone number, 07023358355, on the petition does not exist”.

“In the publication alleging collection of N10 billion from supreme court contractors, Ahmed Gambo Saleh is not the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court. In fact, Mr Saleh left the supreme court in 2017 and could not have been awarding contracts in any capacity on behalf of the apex court,” the statement reads.

“It is worrisome that the writer of the fictitious petition and publication did not name a single contractor from whom the purported N10 billion was alleged to have been collected.”

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Oye also dismissed the allegation that Saleh connived with one Suraju Tanko, identified as the son of the former chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), to sell off a supreme court residence located in Aso Rock villa

“It may interest the public to know that the said house, No 10, Ibrahim Taiwo street, on the way to the Villa was once occupied by the then CJN before he relocated to his official residence,” Oye said.

“The house was next to house No 11 occupied by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), and on their request and approval by President Muhammadu Buhari for an expansion of NFIU office, both houses were demolished for that purpose. Another house within the Villa was, however, approved for the use of the supreme court.

“How then could Mr Saleh have sold the house in question?

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“Mr Saleh was also accused of ‘withholding funds meant for purchasing exotic vehicles usually assigned to newly sworn-in justices of the supreme court’.

“The question is, is Mr Saleh the chief registrar of the supreme court who is the accounting officer? The answer is an emphatic NO. Mr Ahmed Gambo Saleh as the NJC Secretary does not superintend over the affairs of the Supreme Court because they are two distinct entities.”

Addressing the allegation that Saleh diverted N2.2 billion from the supreme court account to his personal United Bank for Africa (UBA) account number 2027642863, Oye said “the truth is that the said account is the operational account of the supreme court of Nigeria, which can be verified by anyone”.

“Moreover, the said account was opened in 2009, five years before Mr Saleh became the chief registrar of the supreme court. And so, Mr Saleh could not have diverted the funds when he had not assumed office,” Oye said.

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“Besides, the N2.2 billion was the total transaction in the account of the supreme court from 2009 to 2016.

“The petitioner only used the said account number which does not belong to Mr Saleh to deliberately and maliciously mislead members of the public.”

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Speaking on the charges filed against Saleh by the federal government in November 2016, the NJC director said the case was withdrawn by the attorney-general of the federation because “the charges could not be substantiated”.

Oye also said contrary to claims that there was a plea bargain, “the charges were dropped without any plea bargaining”.

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“It is imperative for the members of the public to be aware that before his emergence as the secretary of the NJC, some forces who tried to scuttle his appointment as the secretary of the council have re-emerged with antics aimed at tarnishing his image and bringing his good name to disrepute,” the statement reads.

“It is on record that these forces, in a bid to stop his emergence as the NJC Secretary after the interview to consider his appointment, came up with false allegations in the media alleging that he had diverted N2.2 billion from the Supreme Court from 2009 to 2016 on the day the council meeting was to hold.

“It should be noted that there has never been a time when Mr Saleh admitted committing any crime before anybody or law court.

“The sponsors of these malicious allegations believe they own the Judiciary and nobody can become anything within the Judiciary without their approval.

“It is important to reiterate that there is no iota of credibility in the petition as they are not after the truth but are out to smear the good image of Ahmed Gambo Saleh at all cost.”



This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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